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The Interior Department Proceeds To Revamp Endangered Species Rules
The Interior Department is proceeding with a final rule revamping changes that the Bush administration made to Endangered Species Act (ESA) regulations in its final months. The department sent a final rule on ESA consultations to the White House Office of Management and Budget, OMB said. The move suggests Interior will use authority given it by Congress in a recent spending bill to fast-track the regulatory rewrite without going through the normal full review process. At issue is the Bush administration's revision of a rule that required federal agencies to consult with Fish and Wildlife Service biologists before undertaking actions that might threaten a protected species. The Bush rule made biological consultations optional, allowing agencies to proceed with projects if they maintained there would be little threat to a species.

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